Vancouver Canucks defenceman Alex Edler has been suspended two games for kneeing Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman on Sunday night.
The incident occurred in the second period of Canucks' 3-2 overtime win over the Maple Leafs on Sunday, with Edler being assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct on the play.
Hyman left the game and did not return after being caught by the outstretched right leg of Edler in the neutral zone. He was down for a period of time in obvious pain on the ice before limping down the tunnel.
“It was tough. He’s such a huge player for our team,” Leafs forward William Nylander said after the game. “Hopefully he’ll be fine. It was a pretty dirty hit.
“He’s a leader on the ice and off the ice ... The way he cares for other guys is incredible. He’s a huge part of this team.”
Hyman, who has 15 goals and 33 points in 43 games this season, had no points in 5:49 of ice time. Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the team would know more on his status on Monday.
A pending unrestricted free agent, Hyman last injured his knee in the first round of the 2019 NHL playoffs and underwent surgery.
“We just hope he’s OK, such an integral part of our group,” Leaf captain John Tavares said. “The element he brings to our team, you can’t replace that. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious. He’s battled through so many things in my time being here, the competitor he is. He plays such a key role for us.”
Canucks coach Travis Green said he didn’t think there was any ill intent in the hit.
“Eddie’s obviously a hard player,” said Green. “He’s not a dirty player. He doesn’t try to hurt players ever and I don’t think that was the case there.”
Edler was held without a point in six minutes of ice time before departing. The 34-year-old has six assists in 37 games this season while picking up 49 minutes in penalties.
Edler has been suspended twice before, but is not considered a repeat offender as both suspensions came in 2013.